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US House Passes Magnitsky Bill - Corruption Currents - WSJ

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The U.S. House of Representatives voted on Friday to place sanctions on human rights abusers in Russia as part of a broader bill easing trade restrictions.

For the bill to become law, it still has to pass the Senate, but Dow Jones Newswires reported that aides to leaders in both parties said it’s likely to happen by the end of the year.

The House voted 365-43 to pass the main bill, which scraps the Jackson-Vanik provision that imposed trade restrictions on any country that tries to prevent its citizens from emigrating, though it was targeted at Moscow. With Russia ascending to the World Trade Organization, the U.S. had to remove trade barriers.

The human rights provision attached to the trade bill was named for Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer for Hermitage Capital Management who has been lionized around the world as a martyr and a whistleblower after he made allegations of a huge fraud scandal in Russia and died while in the hands of Russian authorities.

Under the provision, the U.S. assets of those deemed responsible for Magnitsky’s death would be frozen and they would be banned from being granted visas to enter the U.S.